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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?

On 2008-11-25, Brenda Wallace penned:
> On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:09 PM, Helen Faulkner <helen@debian.org> wrote:
>> To get back on topic, does anyone think that CS-related careers are harder or
>> easier, compared to other careers, to take a break from and actually get back
>> into it?  As in: is it a career that fits well or badly with the types of
>> disruption that parenthood often presents, for men or for women?  Maybe this is
>> part of the reason why women are being turned off CS - the field changes so fast
>> that you lose 6 months you might be in trouble...
> i've always thought that opensource, because of it's accessibility,
> would be much easier to stay up with. Not needing to keep buying the
> latest commercial/proprietary product + subscription to their
> documentation means i could keep up with most of it given a spare
> afternoon once a week.

Not exactly the same thing, but ...

A friend of mine recently quit her job and is going to start looking
for a new one soon.  She's recently been a technical manager and wants
to go back to implementation.  I suggested that she should work on
open source projects to brush up her skills and to have something to
show her prospective employers.  She was surprised and delighted by
this idea.

Another female acquaintance of mine was looking for a job after a few
years' break.  She did find that she was very rusty, and said that
with two children and a husband who works far more than full-time, she
had not been able to find any time at all to keep up.  I wonder,
though, if this is a personality and priorities thing.  It seems to me
that it's vitally important for parents to take some time for
themselves, even / especially when they're fulltime stay at home
parents.  If you're a person who lives and breathes software, you'll
find a way to make that part of your personal time.  If not, you will
spend that time other ways. ... also, to be fair, she was somewhat
suddenly thrust into the workforce because of the financial situation.
I don't think she'd been planning to go back to work quite yet.

Of course, I say all this with extreme naivete, not having ever had
kids.  I can't really picture how my husband and I would manage that;
we're both extremely wrapped up in software jobs that don't follow
nice eight hour workdays.


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